NBA Summer League
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The NBA Summer League, consisting of the Las Vegas Summer League and the Orlando Summer League is a period during which NBA teams come together to try out different summer rosters instead of their regular season line-ups. Typically, there is a mix of rookies and some of the younger bench players to see how well some players work with others. Sometimes, even unsigned players are invited to play so teams can decide whether or not they want to sign the new players. The main benefit for fans, as well as the media, is to get a preview of the top rookies and how they will fit into the NBA and how they transition from college basketball to the NBA. The NBA Summer League is where many past draftees or players who no longer are on rosters try to make comebacks onto NBA rosters.
The Las Vegas Summer League is one of two summer pro leagues in the United States. The other summer pro league is the Orlando Summer League (run by the Orlando Magic). Up until 2008, the Rocky Mountain Revue (run by the Utah Jazz) operated until it was cancelled in 2009 due to declining participation.
The Las Vegas Summer League played its inaugural season in 2004 on the basketball court at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with six NBA teams – Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards – playing a total of 13 games. With Warren LeGarie leading the way, the summer league had three successful summers in which participation increased to 16 teams playing more than 40 games at UNLV. In 2005, the summer league expanded to 15 teams – Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, L.A. Clippers, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards. In 2007, the NBA attached its name to the event, making it the “NBA” summer league. In 2008, the summer league expanded to 22 teams and was sponsored by EA Sports.
Before the 2013-14 season in NBA summer league, winning or losing mattered little. The summer league gives individual players a chance to prove their skills on the court. Some of these players hope to earn a role on their respective team's roster once the regular season starts.
If someone is not currently signed, a team might just sign him for their summer league team, which will give him a chance to prove his worth and possibly be signed to a contract during the regular season. Any team can sign him after the league is over, not just the one he played for in summer league. For example, Jeremy Lin, a Harvard student, was invited to play for the Dallas Mavericks summer league team despite being undrafted earlier in the year. In the 2010 summer league, Lin performed well and was later signed by the Golden State Warriors.
For the 2013 summer league, there will be for the first time a champion crowned. There will be 22 teams in the Las Vegas Summer League. Each team will play 3 games. Depending on the team's records all 22 teams will be in the bracket and will be seeded 1-22. Ten teams will play in the Orlando Summer League. Each team will play 5 games and for the final game there will be a championship day for the first time where the 1 seed plays 2 seed, 3 seed plays 4 seed, etc. There will not be a tournament for the Orlando summer league. There will be, however, a championship game where the 1 seed vs. the 2 seed is the championship game Then 3 seed vs 4 seed is the third place game, etc. There will be a point system for the Orlando Summer League as a win is worth 3 points and a quarter win is worth 1 point however if a quarter is tied then each team gets 0.5 points. The Oklahoma City Thunder won the first Orlando Summer League championship game over the Houston Rockets, while the Golden State Warriors won the first Las Vegas Summer League championship game over the Phoenix Suns.
Las Vegas Summer League
Atlanta Hawks (2010-12)*
Charlotte Bobcats (2008, 2012)
Chicago Bulls (2005, 2009-12)*
Cleveland Cavaliers (2004-12)
Dallas Mavericks (2005-12)
Denver Nuggets (2004-12)*
Golden State Warriors (2005-12)*
Los Angeles Clippers (2005-12)*
Los Angeles Lakers (2007-12)*
Memphis Grizzlies (2007-12)*
Miami Heat (2010-12)*
Milwaukee Bucks (2007-12)*
Minnesota Timberwolves (2006-12)
NBA D-League Select (2009-12)
New Orleans Pelicans (2005-12)
New York Knicks (2005-12)*
Phoenix Suns (2004-12)
Portland Trail Blazers (2005-12)
Sacramento Kings (2005-12)
San Antonio Spurs (2007-12)*
Toronto Raptors (2008-12)
Washington Wizards (2004-12)
- Indicates 2012-13 NBA Playoff team.
Orlando Summer League
- Jonas Valančiūnas (2013)
- Damian Lillard/Josh Selby (2012)
- N/A (2011)
- John Wall (2010)
- Blake Griffin (2009)
- Jerryd Bayless 2008)
- Nate Robinson (2007)
- Randy Foye (2006)
|2013||Orlando||Oklahoma City Thunder||85-77||Houston Rockets||Jeremy Lamb|
|Las Vegas||Golden State Warriors||91-77||Phoenix Suns||Ian Clark|